Corgi AA38503 German Messerschmitt Bf 110C Fighter - Zerstorergeschwader 52, Charleville, France, September 1940 (1:72 Scale)
"Guns before butter. Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat."
- Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, Head of the German Luftwaffe
The Messerschmitt Bf 110 was an aircraft of very mixed fortunes. It has often been criticized for its failure during the Battle of Britain, while its successes in other fields have been largely ignored. Despite not living up to the Luftwaffe's expectations it did manage to serve Germany throughout the Second World War in the long-range escort fighter, fighter-bomber, reconnaissance, ground attack and night fighter roles.
The long-range multi-seat escort fighter is possibly the most difficult of combat aircraft to design. Certainly no entirely successful machine in this category emerged from the Second World War, and when Professor Willy Messerschmitt began design studies for such a warplane towards the end of 1934 at the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke at Augsburg his problems would have seemed insurmountable had he possessed a full knowledge of interceptor fighter development trends abroad. Such a machine as was required by Marshal Goering to equip the elite "zerstorer" formations that he envisaged had to be capable of penetrating deep into enemy territory, possessing sufficient range to accompany bomber formations. The fuel tankage necessary presented a serious weight penalty and called for the use of two engines if the "zerstorer" was to achieve a performance approaching that of the lighter interceptor fighter by which it would be opposed. Yet it had to be maneuverable if it was to successfully fend off the enemy's single-seaters.
The Bf 110Es were capable of carrying a respectable bomb load of 4,410 lb (2,000 kg) as fighter-bombers, while straight fighter and reconnaissance versions were also built. These, and later versions, were operated with a fair degree of success in many war zones. The Bf 110F was basically similar to the E, but two new variants were produced - the 110F-2 carrying rocket projectiles and the F-4 with two 30 mm cannon and an extra crew member for night fighting. The last version, the Bf 110G, was intended for use originally as a fighter-bomber but, in view of the success of the F-4 and the increasingly heavy attacks on Germany by Allied bombers, was employed mostly as a night fighter.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German Messerschmitt Bf 110C fighter that was attached to Zerstorergeschwader 52, then deployed to Charleville, France, during September 1940.
Wingspan: 10 inches
Length: 8 inches
Release Date: September 2009
Historical Account: "Zerstorerwaffe" - The Bf 110 Zerstoerwaffe (Destroyer Force) saw considerable action during operation Operation Weserubung the invasion of Denmark and Norway. two Zerstorergeschwader (1 and 76) were comitted with 64 aircraft. The Bf 110 destroyed 25 Danish military aircraft stationed on the airbase on April 9th through ground strafing.One Danish Fokker D.XXI did manage to get airbourne but was immediately shot down. During this campaign Victor Molders, brother of the famous Werner Molders, took the official surrender of the town after landing at the local airfield.
Dressed in flying gear he was given a lift into the town centre by a milkman to find suitable quarters for I.ZG 1's Bf 110 crews.
In Norway the Bf 110s helped secure the Oslo-Fornebu airport, escorting Junkers Ju 52 transports loaded with paratroops (Fallschirmjager). The Germans were engaged by several Gloster Gladiators and the ensuing battle both sides lost two aircraft.
The Messerchmitt pilots did not know that many earlier waves of transports had turned back and the airport was unsecured. Landing their cargo's many transports were destroyed. The remaining Bf 110s straffed the airfield and helped the ground troops take the airfield, the air support provided by the Zerstorer was instrumental, and it was to perform well as a fighter-bomber in the coming campaigns. During these battles a future Luftwaffe Ace, Helmut Lent scored his fifth and sixth victories against Norwegian opposition.